Whilst editing my deck on entrepreneurship for a talk on Monday (removing all the Mozilla references and adding a bunch of new thoughts) I added a quote from Abraham Maslow (of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs-fame):
“Everyone I know who is happy is working well at something they consider important.”
Not only do I wholeheartedly agree with the quote — it also points out two of the most important factors for happiness: Mastery (“is working well”) and Impact (“they consider important”). Note that Maslow doesn’t discriminate on what is important — as long as it’s important to you, it’s important. Further note that mastery is necessary — it’s good to stretch yourself but it’s no good to feel constantly overwhelmed. The third factor, which Maslow doesn’t mention, is Autonomy.
Once you get the three together (Autonomy, Mastery and Impact) you are well on your path to happiness. And if that doesn’t sound true for yourself at this moment: Figure out what’s missing and either find it in your current role or change. Your life is too short to be wasted in a land of indifference, mediocrity or worse.